Limber Pine Needs New Roots

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I have this Limber Pine bought at a local nursery two years ago. When I bought it it had a burlap wrap on the roots and the lower trunk was hidden. When I got it home and eventually put it in a grow box I discovered that it was a graft and the host trunk was smaller than the grafted part.

I have no idea what it is grafted onto or why it was grafted instead of just grown naturally. My concern in that area is that the rootstock has some property that the Limber Pine doesn't have and allows it to grow in the SE US as opposed to it's native range.

It will never be a decent bonsai with the reverse taper.

The only two reasonable options I see:

1. Graft roots on right at the joint between rootstock and scion, let them develop and then cut the bottom off. I have not been too very successful with grafting so that is not a great option for me.

2. Air or ground layer the tree right at the graft joint in order to grow new roots at the largest diameter of the trunk.

If I try the air/ground layer option will it grow new roots? If so, when should I make the cut, now or next spring?
 

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Klytus

Omono
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I recently bought a Negishi grafted onto some anonymous stock,the graft was buried and the Negishi had extruded two roots.

But these were lousy roots and sadly were lost in the melee.

They did make the union more strange whilst they lasted.

I already swaddle the joint with spagnum and will expose some living tissue next spring and apply hormone gelee.

Maybe an approach graft from the roots of some other pine?
 
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Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
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This is just an observation and personal opinion but I doubt that this tree has been grafted. The strange anomaly you see at the base of the trunk is most likely caused by the trunk being wrapped too tightly when it was in the "The Balled in Burlap" condition. Having worked for a number of years in the commercial nursery trade this scenario is not unlikely to have happened. I; like you, find the idea that a common every day Limber Pine would be grafted for any commercial reason unless this particular tree is a named cultivar which I am not aware of.
 
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This is just an observation and personal opinion but I doubt that this tree has been grafted. The strange anomaly you see at the base of the trunk is most likely caused by the trunk being wrapped too tightly when it was in the "The Balled in Burlap" condition. Having worked for a number of years in the commercial nursery trade this scenario is not unlikely to have happened. I; like you, find the idea that a common every day Limber Pine would be grafted for any commercial reason unless this particular tree is a named cultivar which I am not aware of.

Cultivar: Vanderwolf's Pyramid
 
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Thank you Vance. Will it sprout new roots if I put a wire tourniquet just below the graft line, sprinkle on some rooting hormone, raise the soil level and wait a year or two?

I have also seen, in Naka I think, a technique where your drill 1/8-1/4" holes around the trunk sprinkle on the hormone and magic happens.

Will any of this work with pines. I see no point in working towards a bonsai if it will never look right. I can just take it and plant it in the woods and let it go.
 
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Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
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Thank you Vance. Will it sprout new roots if I put a wire tourniquet just below the graft line, sprinkle on some rooting hormone, raise the soil level and wait a year or two?

I have also seen, in Naka I think, a technique where your drill 1/8-1/4" holes around the trunk sprinkle on the hormone and magic happens.

Will any of this work with pines. I see no point in working towards a bonsai if it will never look right. I can just take it and plant it in the woods and let it go.
It is very difficult to get a Pine to produce roots in this manner. A tourniquet usually does not work. The best method I have run across is to make two incisions into the trunk about 1/4" apart and connect them at the bottom. The incisions must cut all the way down to the cambium and the three cuts in essence making a little trap door that can be lifted up like the tabs on an old tuna can. Make a series of these little trap doors around the trunk about an inch apart from each other. Then lift the tabs and place a wire under all of them as you would using a tourniquet. The tourniquet does not need to be tight it is only used to keep the tabs from falling back into place. Dust the area with rooting hormone and hope. If this works it could take five years, Pines are notoriously slow to air layer which is essentially what you are doing.
 

tom tynan

Mame
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Mac....If you can find some limber pine seedlings on their own roots you can approach graft these to the area below the graft. You plant the roots of the seedlings in little pots or you plant them in the same soil as the main tree. You leave the grafts alone for a couple of years and wait for the needles on the grafts to grow and get strong. You do not prune the seedlings. At some point you will have to cut off the needles and leave the smaller limber trunk and roots; all you are doing is adding some mass in an area where there is none. Is this long term - for sure and will it work visually - again not sure. But the process of approach grafting in a seedling is not difficult and perhaps in 5 to 10 years you may have something to work with. As you say - you can always plant it for landscape material. I think it will be very difficult if not impossible to layer above the graft. Your tree is probably grafted onto Pinus Strobus or some other pine with strong roots. How are your Pitch Pines doing ? Tom...
 
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Howdy Tom,
Bad news on the Pitch Pine. We had a very, very wet summer. I think it was just too much water for it. I finally figured out I could put a sheet of plastic over the container so the soil could dry out, but too late.

Next spring I may make another run up the road and see if I can get permission again. Education is costly and I hate loosing a nice tree. Mac
 
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